Monday, May 16, 2005

Ward Connerly uplifts High School Female

From The Rant: May 14-15, 2005 - Editor's Note: Kaitlyn Kiernan, a high school student in Illinois, wrote an op-ed for her school paper titled, The Racism of Quotas, addressing racism and the inequities of Affirmative Action in today's society. For her efforts she was ridiculed by a few vocal minority students in her school, chastised by the school administration and highlighted negatively in her local newspaper. Kaitlyn refused to back down from her viewpoint and we at thought it only too appropriate to bring the issue to the attention of former University of California Regent and founder of the American Civil Rights Initiative, Ward Connerly. Here is his letter to Kaitlyn. A special thanks to Mr. Connerly and Alia Darrow.

American Culture
From: Ward Connerly

Dear Kaitlyn,

I happened to come across a column that you have written which poses a number of interesting questions about events such as "Black History Month" and race preferences. It appears - based on another column I have seen, written by James Fuller, a staff writer of the Daily Herald - that your point of view has stirred a bit of controversy.

As I am certain that you have learned by now, the subject of "race" is a treacherous landmine in our nation that requires one to navigate with great caution if one is to avoid very undesirable consequences. This is a tragedy. Therefore, I wanted to pause and share my observations with you about this matter.

First, I commend you for your candor. Second, commendation is equally in order for not being intimidated into retreating from your opinion or the right to express it publicly. Those who seek your apology for sharing your views seem to have little appreciation for your First Amendment rights.

At first blush, events such as "Black History Month," African-American studies, and other race-based events, do have the appearance of being "racist" in nature. But, allow me to contribute to your perspective.

When I was your age, “black” people rarely saw themselves depicted in history books as anything other than the descendants of slaves. With the advent of television, blacks were always cast in a subordinate role or required to be the brunt of someone else’s jokes. To be “black” was to be regarded as inferior in intelligence, socially undesirable, and incapable of making a substantive contribution to American life. Because our government had been a major contributor to the way in which “black” people had been and were being characterized, it made sense for public agencies to do their part to alter the perceptions that had been created and to find ways of portraying black people in a more positive and more accurate manner. There was a critical need to instill a sense of self-pride in black Americans, to encourage them to lift their collective heads and to expose others to different perspectives so that our nation could rid itself of the stereotypes and prejudices that were so prevalent.

With regard to race-based "affirmative action" preferences, I am fully in accord with your views. There was never any justification for applying different standards to American citizens based on their "race," sex, color, ethnicity or national origin. As long as "affirmative action" was intended to eliminate racial discrimination in an aggressive manner, its use was "justified" and still is. However, that justification does not warrant and never should have warranted treating individuals differently based on the factors of identity that I have mentioned. And, that is precisely what far too many "affirmative action" or "diversity" activities have become.

We should have known that the day would come when these race-based practices would have to yield to a single standard for all and to a common identity for all Americans. Moreover, it was always our hope that future generations would not be burdened with the baggage of "race" and that our children and grandchildren would see each other as equals. Well, we have now arrived at that future, but our public policies and our cultural traditions have not kept pace with the evolution of thinking on the part of young people such as you. You cast your gaze upon these events and practices such as "affirmative action" and they make no sense to you and to the majority of Americans. You have had the courage to publicly reduce to writing what the majority of Americans think.

So, I encourage you to persist in expressing your views about "race" issues. Currently, our nation suffers very badly from our failure to openly and candidly engage in discussions about this issue. We proclaim our desire to become "one nation, indivisible" but we lack the courage to engage in the kind of dialogue that might lead us in that direction. Your voice is a breath of fresh air that more of us should inhale.

With deepest regards,

Ward Connerly

Alia Note: Please visit Ward's American Civil Rights Institute website for more information and to assist Ward in keeping the intent and meaning of constitutionalism moving forward. Currently, Mr. Connerly is heavily engaged in the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative -- which is, if you need a fire -- is getting flamed big time by the racialists.

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